Sunday, June 30, 2019

Flying Home Day.

Check out the gorgeous colors of this wonderful Good Fortune quilt!

Our show and share was terrific during our workshops in Atascadero, California this week – ALL of this amazing workmanship – brought to class to share with everyone in attendance – the most fun reveal of the day!

purple and gold and rusty red and green on brown – how YUMMY!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Straits of Mackinac, the California Way!

Aqua to Turquoise – our color theme of the day!

I fell in love the moment I walked into the classroom – not only were many of us playing with this gorgeous color range, but some came all decked out wearing our “color of the day” and even SEWING on a machine of this beautiful color.

And it doesn’t stop there.  Check out the sippy cup behind.  Oh beautiful!

Straits of Mackinac from String Frenzy.. SO much fun and creativity packed into a 6 hour workshop day – could they do it?  Could they get even ONE BLOCK made?

With 35 students in class, I was hopping between two rooms watching folks tackle one unit at a time, breaking the room into 3 smaller groups for hands on demo time.

My plates were spinning – but we got it done with smiles and laughter!

Friday, June 28, 2019

Making Webs!

Making Webs – and loving the creative mess!

Workshop day 4 in Atascadero in conjunction with the Seven Sisters Quilt Show – String Spider Web!

We had a blast – and everyone got to choose their own block size, drafting their own kite template and deciding how they wanted to set their blocks – be it the traditional version from the free patterns tab, or the Serpentine Web uptake from my book String Frenzy!

My suggestion – gleaned from time I spent in the presence of Gwen Marston herself – “Don’t commit too soon!”  Give yourself the opportunity to make blocks – MANY blocks – and then play with them, not deciding what was going to happen until the quilt itself lets you know.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Talkin’ Turkey with Strings Attached!

Another full class and full day of stitching up the scraps!

Yes, that is me waving my arms around like an Opera singer – having a wonderful time explaining something about the wonderfully imperfect nature of string piecing being the ORIGINAL improv!  String quilts are just the best for letting go, going with the flow, and not letting the worry of perfection consume you.

I love having folks in class who have NEVER done any kind of string piecing before.  They have no pre-conceived notions or bad  experiences with other methods stopping them – they just dive in and go with it and have a great time!

And oh, did we ever have a great time!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Stitching up the Scraps with Cathedral Stars!

Is there anything better than a beautiful quilt made with scraps & simple units?

Or anything more fun than spending the day stitching away with friends – including those newly made!

It’s been a while since I taught Cathedral Stars – but it has so MANY of my favorite units in it, and I absolutely adore new quilters who come in a bit intimidated – feeling like they should know more than they do – and they leave feeling like they have accomplished something, that they CAN do it, and it wasn’t as hard as they thought!

You can feel the soar of self esteem and the confidence to go forward with their new-found passion for patchwork and quilting.

But the best part of all?  Finding a group of folks who will take them by the hand and encourage them to continue beyond this point.

I love teaching – it is the best feeling in the world when a newbie quilter plops that ruler down onto her unit to measure and to her own amazement – “It’s the RIGHT SIZE!”


This pattern is found under the free patterns tab at the top of the blog.  Have you made one?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Emerald City Day on the El Camino Real!

Having a raucous round of fun with the California Girls!

El Camino Real is Spanish for "The Royal Road" and in California is the name for the 700 mile historic California Mission Trail that connects 21 missions, 4 presidios (military forts) and several pueblos (towns) from Mission San Diego de Alcala in the south to Mission San Francisco Solano in Northern California.

Growing up in San Jose, so much of everything was “How far off El Camino is it?” when referring to places we were headed.

700 miles is a fair distance!

And even though this section of El Camino is one I’ve never never travelled before – there is a heart-string connecting me to the El Camino of my childhood – making it feel familiar somehow. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

From One Coast to the Other …

Has anyone seen Los Angeles?

I can’t find it amongst the smog!

Oh, it’s in there all right – it just hasn’t burned off yet.  This is June in California. 

And this is nowhere near as BROWN as it was when I was growing up in the state.

This was the long leg of my trip – and as some small airports (Destination, San Luis Obispo!) don’t have access to all air carriers, I had to take an airline that I don’t usually take.

My route with United took me from Greensboro, NC Northeast to Washington/Dulles and then coast to coast to Los Angeles, where I finally boarded my last flight into San Luis Obispo.

It adds about an hour or more in flight time versus connecting in Atlanta, but what’s a girl to do?  Grin and go with it! Or SEW with it, as the case may be!

Sunday, June 23, 2019

June ‘19 Quilty Box Gift-Away!

Wow!  What a great Quilty Box this month!

I get so much excitement out of opening each and every box that arrives on my doorstep –and the June Quilty Box rides in on the wings of summer with all of the color and texture and possibilities straight to you from designer Ebony Love of Love Bug Studios!

Ebony is known for many things – including her amazing ability to create with die cuts making her quilts come to life lickity split.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Just Roll It On Over!

Things quilts teach us about quilters -

Even without words!

Martha and I spent a lot of time enjoying the hunt for quilts, sewing items, machines and other bits and bobs of interest in our jaunty journey to Abingdon VA on Thursday.

One thing that I dearly love about vintage quilts – they are in no way “cookie cutter.”  Most of the scrappy quilts that catch my eye may come from recognizable patterns of the day, but each maker has put their own twist on the making of the top, the choice in backing, what they used as batting – be it cotton, wool, an old blanket, thick or thin.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Thursday–Out and About!

Barn Quilt between storms!

Martha and I had made plans for lunch out and a round of junk shop/antique shop wandering – setting our sights on today, June 21st – a great way to celebrate the Summer Solstice!

(And mourning the fact that it starts to get darker earlier from here on out until the Winter Solstice comes round again – bummer!)

And then – she texts back asking if we could go Thursday instead since Friday was…..(((Drum Roll)))  her anniversary and she forgot.  LOL!

And since I am game for anything and everything and am the boss of my own calendar, I quickly rearranged some things on the “to do” list and away we went.

Destination?  The back way to Damascus for lunch, a couple of shops – and then on to Bethel School which is now an antiques place.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Quilt Cam Trial and Error.

We tried Quilt-Cam yesterday.

I honestly don’t think that we really appreciate the wonders of high speed internet until we don’t have it.

I don’t have it.

I have doable – I can print invoices and mailing labels.  I have enough strength of signal to play Pandora off my phone while connected to the Post Office WiFi – but this internet access comes through Century Link and the phone line – not cable, not satellite – and it is costing an arm and a leg just to get what meager function I have.

But we tried.  And we will try again when I can be fully hard wired.

Yes, I had a 50 foot cable – but forgot that my slim line lap top doesn’t have a PORT for that cord, so trusty Amazon has one on the way that will hook to a USB port and hopefully give me a better signal.

On top of that – Facebook has changed their business page format for those with pages – and there is no longer a simple GO LIVE option right on the front page when viewing by computer – you have to click Creator Studio at the top – and jump through a bunch of hoops to find it.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Of Hydrangeas, Quilts, and Future Events!

Periwinkle Blue has to be one of my most favorite colors.

I just LOVE blue hydrangea season!

It is in full swing in North Carolina – maybe not quite all the way up to Virginia yet – but it’s coming.  These beautiful balls of periwinkle just capture me.  And with those deep green leaves of summer as backdrop?  My eyes are doing the happy dance.

I remember as a small child being amazed at the old wives remedy of ensuring their blue color by planting pennies in the garden so they’d have enough copper mineral in the soil to be this blue.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Running to Play Catch Up -

Appointments, Appointments, Appointments!

Life has taken a crazy turn – This being up in Virginia more and more and more – It’s all good, but it’s a different dance.

Now that the Quiltville Post Office is the home of the Quiltville Store – my goal is always to get home from wherever I am teaching, and get up there as quickly as possible to get things out the door for folks that have ordered while I’ve been on the road.

This means scheduling all appointments the day before I head out, or the day after I arrive back from wherever I’ve been.

It is far too easy to let things slide – saying “I don’t have time.” “It can wait.”

But we need to MAKE time.  It can’t wait.

Monday, June 17, 2019

A Bit of Quiltville All Around!

How many would recognize this as En Provence?!

I know I didn’t at first – not until I read the card!

I was captured by the design, the colors – and wow – those RIBBONS!  But it wasn’t until I got up and personal with the words that it all became clear -

En Provence was just the beginning of this process, the jumping off point of inspiration – and it turned completely into something else – something WONDERFUL!

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Texas Braids–All Day Long!

Growing, growing growing -

Keeps those braids a growing -

Quilt On!

(To the tune of RAWHIDE! LOL!)

We finished up the Minnesota Quilt Show 2019 with an easy round of Texas Braids from my book Adventures with Leaders & Enders – and there was not a triangle in the bunch to slow us down this day!

The planning committee couldn’t have nailed it better – our 4th full day of scrappy fun – no specialty rulers or triangles required – and it was a good thing.  Quite a few of these folks had been working the show all week – hanging quilts, helping with registration – we were all nearly running on empty -

What this class gave us was TIME!  Time to put the pieces easily through the machine  Time to talk to our neighbors and not have to work so hard – just time to sew up the scraps and talk about the other quilts they were left from – time for trading some really fun stuff with the others in class and sew it all up -

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Smith Mountain Morning in Rochester!

And the Quilters keep Quilting!

Would you just look at this crazy bunch??

We are raising the roof with this bunch, and having a ball at  the Minnesota Quilt Show in Rochester, MN!  And oh, what a facility! 

We are at the Mayo Civic Center – just a beautiful wide open facility with so much space!  There is room for ALL of the quilters!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Talkin’ Turkey–Rochester Style!

It’s  a Talkin’ Turkey String Fling Party!

And what a wild bunch we had!

If you have never visited the Minnesota Quilt Show, and have taken a class along the way – you need to.  We are just having the best time, and let me tell you – Rochester is a BEAUTIFUL city!

I had to laugh to myself yesterday morning as I wound my way from the hotel, through the sky way that connects building to building to building in all directions – both above and below ground!  It’s like a hamster habit trail – remember those?  People coming and going – without having to step outside at all.  Which would be GREAT in the winter.

But yesterday it got up past the 70 degree mark with full on sunshine and blue skies – and we enjoyed every outside minute we could.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Pfantabulously Pfun Pfeffernusse!

Oh this group!

We had SUCH a good day in our Pfeffernusse Workshop in Rochester, Minnesota!  It’s the kick off of the 41st annual Minnesota Quilt Show!  FORTY ONE YEARS of bringing folks together, of sharing our love of quilting – and it just gets better and better every year!

As you can tell from this photo, we were PFORTY PFEFFERNUSSERS strong!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Away to Rochester!

Meet Joy’s friend Kathy!

The texts came to Joy’s phone:  “Is Bonnie still there?”  “She’s leaving in 12 minutes for Rochester”  “I’LL BE RIGHT OVER!”

And I’m so glad that she was able to come in a hurry – this was a beautiful family quilt that I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.

From what I gather, the top was pieced in the 1930’s era by someone in her husband’s family.  No one knows who – it could have been a grandmother, a great aunt, the cousin of a cousin – but it is a stunningly beautiful Ocean Waves top – Oh the tiny triangles!!

Oh how lovely!

We examined each piece – reflecting on the fact that during that time the maker likely only had a couple of cardboard templates, a couple of yards of utility muslin, scissors, pins, needle and thread -and a bag of scraps – and this is the result.

Such tiny piecing -

And I love how the orange ones bring in the punch!

Kathy’s plan is to add some borders to stabilize the edges and then get it quilted.  I’m so glad she is going to finish it and use it!

Quilts overhead!

Since Kathy came by, she got to see the quilts that Cheri had brought over to celebrate mom’s birthday, our quilting time together – and to surprise me with the quilts she has made from my patterns – I was so thrilled to see these!

String Spiderweb from the Free Patterns tab.

On Ringo Lake from our Quiltville Mystery 2 years ago.  Cheri laughed when explaining the extra geese in the outer border – “I made them twice – not knowing.  So I had to use them some how!”

Happily Scrappily Irish from my book Adventures with Leaders & Enders.

A Scrappy Mountain Majesties from the Free Patterns Tab -

Over the rail on the other side!

And that’s not all!  Check out what was on my bed:

Cheri’s Garden Party from the Addicted to Scraps book!

She used SO many garden themed fabrics in this quilt.

Just delightful!

And the quilty comfort didn’t stop here -

My Blue Heaven (in earth tones)  from the Free Patterns Tab for Gail

Jamestown Landing from String Fling for Mama!

It was a gift of sweet slumber – and I can’t thank her enough for all she did for our time together!  See you here in Rochester, Cheri!

I need this.

I took this photo as I was packing up to remind myself to FIND SOME!  It’s a simple little plug thing with an on/off switch.  The iron is plugged into it.  Simple.  If the light is on, so is the iron.

Since this is Minnesota – it’s likely from Menards. I think for Quiltville Inn this would be a much easier way to turn OFF the irons than to physically unplug and replug them all the time.

My chariot awaits!

We’ve planned this for months!  Doug Leko of Antler Quilt Designs lives a mere two miles from Joy and offered to drive me down to Rochester yesterday, as well as be the recipient of my many cases of books and merchandise being shipped ahead.  This was such a wonderful thing as I was not sure how I was going to get from here to there – do I rent a car?  Do I have mom and the girls drive me 90 miles each way?

We had the best time talking quilting and new housing projects and everything under the sun.  That was the fastest 90 minute drive of all time.

Tonight we are doing a joint book signing at Pine Needles Quilt Shop in Rochester from 5 to 7 pm.  If you are in the area, stop on by!

Downtown Rochester from my 7th floor hotel room.

Yes.  It’s raining.

After dinner time.


But the quilters will be INSIDE SEWING!

I can hardly wait to fill this space up with quilters this morning.  We’ve got Pfeffernusse up on deck from String Fling – it’s going to be a scrappy day of FUN!

It’s official!  I’m here with the Minnesota Quilters!

Quiltville Quote of the Day

Every day is an adventure, if we look at it that way!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Building Quilts, Building Lives!

“Children learn more by what you ARE than what you TEACH.”
W.E.B. Du Bois

Yesterday was a day I’ve been waiting for the past year.

Of course, I have looked forward to spending this week with family, and following up our time together with all of the fun and quilty hubbub of the Minnesota Quilt Show.

But there is more – so much more to this trip.

Destination?  St. Paul and Piece by Piece.

In June of 2018 I received a letter from Carol in the mail.  The regular mail.  Hard copy.  Not email.  This let me know just how important this was going to be.  Hard copy letters just don’t happen that often any more.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Gathering the Moments -

Believe it or not, some stitching happened!

It’s those quiet moments when the family is still asleep – just a few minutes here and there.  10 minutes at a time.

That’s what it’s been like trying to work on this Garden Party table runner project.

It’s just been BUSY!

But we awoke to rain yesterday morning, letting us know that all of our labors from the day before were right on time.  A job well done.  Sunday was for resting.

I love table runners and I find the 60 degree corners before you get to the big point to be charming.  But I tell you what, I struggle with keeping them from looking like cat ears!  3 out of 4 good ones isn’t so bad, is it?

While I was sitting there fussing with those darn corners, Kathryn came in to the kitchen and said “Oh!  Wait right there!  I’ve got something for you!”

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Saturday in the Dirt!

Beautiful Iris surrounding the veggie garden!

“Many hands make light work!” is a phrase I heard often as a kid.

It wasn’t until I was “out in the world” and away from my family beginning my own family raising journey that I realized just what a wondrous thing had been instilled in me.

I know this doesn’t happen everywhere, and the opportunities and experiences life has given me I can never take for granted.

I am surrounded by strong and faithful women who will drop everything and dig in to help wherever it is needed.

It’s the old Mary Poppins’ song of “Just a Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down…..” and in this case it was a burgeoning veggie garden that due to work schedules and weather had gone a bit to the weeds.  We worked through the morning "In the Most Delightful Way....."

Saturday, June 08, 2019

A Weekend On Ringo Lake!

Four girls on a pilgrimage!

We loaded up Joy’s car and headed north out of Maple Grove, Minnesota – along with all of the other bazillions of cars and vehicles determined to get out of the Twin Cities area, heading north for cooler times – it reached nearly 90 degrees yesterday! 

Destination – Spicer Minnesota – to spend the weekend with my Uncle Steve and Aunt Kathryn, on the shores of Ringo Lake!

(This is the sweet spot that spawned  the dawning of our On Ringo Lake mystery two years go.

Friday, June 07, 2019

The Mach Four & More!

We’ve never done this before.

We’ve never had a dedicated retreat day -

My mom, her 2 sisters and me.

And friend Cheri came to play!

It’s been just under 2 years since I enlisted Cheri’s help in locating a Singer 404 for Joy so she could learn to quilt.  Little did we know how this would escalate!

Mom has been quilting for several years now, the only odd one out is Aunt Gail, but that was soon to be remedied.

Joy is working on a Scrappy Mountain Majesties quilt from my Free Patterns Tab, and it is the perfect project to pull Gail right in with learning the ins and outs of basic rotary cutting, some simple stitching.  Some trimming to size, some slicing and rearranging and sewing back together with a 1/4’’ seam allowance.  ALL new to her, as she has done garment sewing in the past, but not patchwork.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

The Long Way to Maple Grove -

The mighty Mississippi full to overflowing!

Yesterday was a longer travel day than I expected – but it was just a day to GET THERE.  This first part of this trip is not a teaching part – the only thing on my agenda was getting my arms around my mom for her 78th birthday.

We pulled back from the gate in Greensboro, NC – and I settled deeply back into my first class upgrade seat (Always nice when that happens!)  and then we sat.  And sat.  And sat.

And then the announcement came – “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are on a full ground stop due to storms over Detroit.  When the ground stop is lifted, they will let the international flights in first as they have been in the air for more than 9 hours, and then we will be cleared to go.”  And we sat, and we sat…

And by the time we were wheels up my connecting flight was already boarding for Minneapolis in Detroit with no way for me to make that connection.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Pedal to the Treadle, Baby!

Look who’s sewing now!

I did it.  All of the orders that came in up to noon yesterday are on their way. 

And I found myself just a few minutes of play time before having to head back down to Winston Salem for a couple of appointments.

Remember this treadle?  I picked her up from Charlotte Angotti in Columbia, SC as she was on her way from Myrtle Beach back to home.

It’s been a bit of a struggle getting to know more about this machine as the serial number does not have a 2 letter prefix – just numbers.  I have a date, no model.  But it turns out that she is a 27-1 – an earlier 27 with the cast iron arm  as access to her rear parts department:

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Mooooving on in to Tuesday!

Whooooo let the Cows Out?!

This was me at 7:30 am this morning, driving down Troutdale Highway headed to the Mouth of Wilson USPS seen in the background.

This put a smile on my face – but also had me slamming on my brakes sending all 7 of the full to the brim mail tubs sliding forward in my van, eventually landing on their sides and spilling their contents hither and thither.

Life in the country – it’s for the birds COWS! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The postal hours are 7:30am to 11:30am and I wanted to get my big load there early – turns out I was there just in time as the regional big truck pulled in just as I was leaving.

And there was much discussion about the cows …..they were trotting up the road to Oak Hill Academy up the hill. Evidently the cows are in search of higher education as well!

Monday, June 03, 2019

When Sunday Dawns into Monday.

My view as I “drove in to work” this morning!

The Christmas tree farm across the street from Quiltville Inn.

Photo from the open door of the Quiltville Post Office!

I was so excited to get to work this morning, that I was up at in the shower at close to 6am, packed a breakfast – grabbed stuff for lunch, loaded up my morning beverage hot and steaming into my to-go cup and off I went!

It rained last night.  HARD.  Like deafeningly heart – pounding, drenching, wide open downpours.  This morning at that early hour there was fog and mist all across the fields and farms.  But this sun – it is going to win the game as it turns its face into warming up the day.

My heart is so full to overflowing with gratitude for the gift of finally being here – in place – where I have longed to be for the past 13 months.  I’m functional!

And I am mostly functional because of yesterday being hijacked -

Sunday, June 02, 2019

When Necessity Rules - (Ironing Board Cover Tutorial!)

Life is so much better with a new ironing board cover!

I’d been needing to do this for the longest time – and the time was never right.  And there wasn’t the right fabric or supplies on hand – or so I thought.

Now, I’m not one to diss a hard working ironing board that shows signs of much pressing and productivity.  Don’t get me wrong.  I firmly believe that an “always clean” ironing board is evidence that someone isn’t sewing hard enough! LOL!  But there comes a time in every board’s life to retire the old and update with new.

Saturday, June 01, 2019

When Simple Sewing is the Goal -

I feel like I’ve been on a sewing diet.

And like I’ve been running a marathon, still 6 miles from the finish line and running out of gas.

But there is hope for sewing time on the horizon!

And even some blatant “Playing Hooky” time in the midst of all of this moving in chaos fit the bill of feeding my quilty soul when there is little to no time for actual stitching.